On Wednesday, the Missouri Tigers practiced in full pads for two-and-a-half hours on Faurot Field.
"Overall, it was a good practice," said Coach Pinkel. "It was kind of fun being in the stadium. We hadn't practiced on the new turf, yet. So, that was good. And, I thought it was a good practice. I thought we got a lot done. You know, we've got some guys banged up a little bit, but that's kind of the norm. You're going to be sore, you're going to be tired. That's going to happen during two-a-days."
Coach Pinkel pointed out that freshman TE Sean Culkin had suffered a broken finger about midway through practice. He was sent over for imaging and to see the doctor. A number of other players came off the field with minor injuries. Otherwise, there were no new injuries to report.
Starting QB James Franklin didn't do any throwing. He'll throw again on Thursday. He was held out of throwing as a continuation of his planned recovery schedule, a scheduled day off for his shoulder. Coach Pinkel reiterated that Franklin is not having any problems.
The staff is not tipping their hand, but it appears that Evan Boehm is on his way to winning a starting job. Boehm would be just the third true freshman offensive lineman to play for Coach Pinkel at Missouri, and the first to start. On Wednesday, Boehm lined up behind Max Copeland, but he split the first team reps with Copeland, in addition to taking all of the second team reps. From my perspective, it appears that the staff is intent on getting Boehm ready.
"He's going to have the opportunity to win a job," explained Coach Pinkel, as he talked about Evan Boehm.
There's a couple of other freshmen who are being readied, as well, although their path to the field isn't quite as clear. It appears to me that TB Morgan Steward and WR Dorial Green-Beckham are each being challenged to quickly ready themselves to play this season.
I asked Coach Pinkel about the log-jam at the H WR position, where Gahn McGaffie and Jimmie Hunt are stacked up behind T.J. Moe? Coach Pinkel said that is something that he and his staff will be looking at, as far as potentially moving one of those guys to another receiver spot.
"There's a lot of competition there at the receiver position," explained Coach Pinkel. "I was talking to Coach Hill, and I said we just need some guys to separate themselves."
McGaffie has been as good as any receiver in camp.
One of the highlights of the day was the performance of Bud Sasser, who was moved back over to the TE/Y receiver position, where he's working with the first team offense. Sasser, who has played every receiver position in practice during his time at Missouri, was open on almost every play, and once again displayed the ability to catch the ball in traffic. On one pass play, Sasser made a one-handed catch over the middle, when Kenronte Walker arrived with the football.
During 1-on-1 pass rush drills, Chris Freeman moved his feet and picked up a win over Brayden Burnett. Harold Brantley ripped his way past Connor McGovern. Brad McNulty picked up a win. Jack Meiners blocked Matt Hoch. Both players ended up on the ground. Sheldon Richardson beat Mitch Morse off the ball, and Morse wasn't able to recover, as Richardson forced his way past the starting center.
During 7-on-7 action, Corbin Berkstresser hit L'Damian Washington on a drag route for a nice gain. Berkstresser came back to Washington near the left sideline for a first down. Cortland Browing and Xavier Smith were right there to force him out of bounds. L'Damian Washington came back toward the QB, and made a nice reception of a Berkstresser pass. Washington attacked the football and took it away from David Johnson.
Maty Mauk found Rolandis Woodland over in the right seam for a first down. From the 20-yard line, Mauk hit Woodland in the back left corner of the end zone. Mauk tried to get it to Jaleel Clark over the middle. Kenronte Walker and Zaviar Gooden were there to knock the ball away. On the next play, Mauk couldn't find anyone open and threw the ball out of the end zone.
During a segment devoted to kick-off coverage, several players handled the kick returns, including Marcus Murphy, Kendial Lawrence, Morgan Steward, and John Gibson, among others. I got the impression this was an audition to get several guys on film.
During the Tiger Drill, Bud Sasser got under Ian Simon and drove past him. Ka'Ra Stewart laid a lick on Morgan Steward and knocked him backward, but Steward spun out of the tackle and finished the run. Dorial Green-Beckham powered his way past Daniel Easterly.
During 11-on-11s, Corbin Berkstresser's arm was hit as he threw a pass. The ball fell incomplete. Kony Ealy and Michael Sam were both in there. Marcus Murphy took an inside hand-off and cut it up for about 15 yards. Evan Boehm and Mitch Morse had opened up a running lane for Murphy. Bud Sasser reached down as he came across the field to snag Berkstresser's low pass. Sasser then turned it up for a big gain as he ran away from Walker. McGriff-Culver started right but Richardson and Matt Hoch were there to knock him off his feet. Lawrence ran left for a first down. Walker squared him up in the open field and wrapped him up for the textbook tackle.
Greg White took a hand-off from Maty Mauk and ran around the right side for a nice gain before he was met by Darvin Ruise and others. Mauk's pass down the right hash glanced off of Brandon Holifield's fingertips. It was a little high, but was nevertheless a catchable ball. Mauk's next pass was catchable, but missed connection with Woodland over the middle. Jared Culver-McGriff started up inside but was stopped short of the line of scrimmage. Mauk missed connection with Holifield, who was running down the right seam. He was bracketed by Brandon Durant and John Gibson. Morgan Steward took a hand-off and fought his way over the left side for a nice gain. Donavin Newsom was there to make the stop.
During some 11-on-11 red zone action, Berkstresser missed McGaffie on a slant at the goal line, then he hit Marcus Lucas in the back right corner of the end zone. Lucas went up and high-pointed that fade pass. Berkstresser found Washington on a cross in the back of the end zone. Washington had gotten a step on Xavier Smith. Richardson chased Berkstresser out of the pocket. Berkstresser was on the run and under duress as he tried to get it to Lucas in the back of the end zone. But, the pass was off target and fell incomplete. Murphy took the hand-off on the speed sweep and was met immediately in the backfield by Will Ebner.
Mauk missed connection with Woodland on the fade. Mauk found Holifield in the back leftt corner of the end zone on the fade. Like Lucas and Dorial Green-Beckham, Holifield appears to be very adept at catching the fade. Mauk went right back to Holifield on the fade, this time in the back right corner of the end zone. But, Cortland Browning went up and knocked the ball away. Morgan Steward took the hand-off and had the end zone in his sights, but Derrion Thomas dove across and cut Steward down by the ankles. Then, Tyler Hunt fought his way into the end zone over the left side.
Brock Bondurant found Dorial Green-Beckham near the goal line, as the athletic freshmen went up in the air for a nice grab and came down in the end zone. Green-Beckham came back with another TD reception, as he again leaped high in the end zone to make the catch.
In the two-minute drill, Berkstresser got it out in the flat to Lawrence. He got good blocks from Sasser and Washington, and he picked up a first down and then some. Anthony Gatti was out there clearing a path, as well. Berkstresser overthrew Sasser over the middle. Berkstresser faked the hand-off then ran up inside for about 5 yards before Braylon Webb came up to greet the young QB. Berkstesser completed a pass to Sasser over the middle. Walker arrived with the football and started to wrap Sasser's arms, but Sasser wrestled one arm free and managed to make the catch.
Mauk hit Jimmie Hunt out in the right flat, but Hunt dropped the football. Mauk scrambled right for a first down before getting out of bounds. Steward took a hand-off and ran left for about 6 yards, before he was met by Ruise and others. Mauk's pass attempt intended for Kerwin Stricker was slightly behind him and fell incomplete. Tyler Hunt got a couple of tough yards inside.
The move inside to TE seems to suit Bud Sasser. He could catch a lot of balls in there. He's not as tall as the Tigers like at that position, but he's got some wiggle, and he catches the ball in traffic.